A relapse prevention plan is a plan created between an individual and an assigned keyworker, to prevent potential relapses from occurring, once in-patient treatment concludes.
What A Relapse Prevention Plan Does
The intended outcome of a relapse prevention plan is to avoid emotional relapse, mental relapse and physical relapse when leaving rehab by considering in detail what may cause relapse to occur, including:
A relapse prevention plan provides the tools to avoid falling back into old habits that cause relapse by having support systems in place to deal with triggers.
When Is A Relapse Prevention Plan Essential?
A relapse prevention plan is considered essential under high risk of:
A relapse prevention plan is considered beneficial, but not essential, under:
When To Use A Relapse Prevention Plan
Relapse prevention plans are normally part of an overall treatment plan in inpatient or outpatient rehab facilities.
Using a relapse prevention plan after rehab helps identify the underlying causes of alcoholism and raise awareness of how behaviour needs to change, unlike implementing a relapse prevention plan on those who have only detoxed the physical addiction .
When NOT To Use A Relapse Prevention Plan
Circumstances or conditions where a relapse prevention plan may not be useful include:
Relapse Prevention Plan Structure
Identifying Personal Goals
A relapse prevention plan allows the alcoholic to focus on reasons to maintain sobriety, with manageable goals such as:
Personal goals are useful for the alcoholic to refer back to, particularly when struggling with changing lifestyles or contemplating relapse.
The personal reasons for wanting to achieve sobriety, to motivate further success in recovery.
Each alcoholic will have triggers that specifically affect them, so a treatment plan needs to identify those triggers in order to put coping mechanisms in place to avoid relapse.
In a residential treatment setting, the input for this can come from learnings gained during the therapy process.
Identifying Methods To Minimise Triggers
Methods must be successful in minimising the alcoholics' specific triggers, including:
An effective relapse prevention plan will incorporate ways to avoid relapse and continue through recovery, including:
Outlining positive support systems, such as family, friends, mentors, treatment providers or members of support groups .
Know The Warning Signs
Consider what the specific warning signs of nearing a relapse are.
Share these signs with the wider support group, to look out for.
Prepare For Relapse
A relapse prevention plan will include what to do post-relapse, such as speaking to a member of the support system, attending further outpatient support groups, or going back into an inpatient rehab facility.
Time To Self Reflect
Taking time to consider current emotions as well as how emotions lead to previous addiction and relapse.
Relapse prevention relies on utilising self-care, such as relaxation techniques, exercise, a healthy diet and good sleep.
Resolving Issues Caused By Addiction
Alcohol abuse may cause relationship, financial and legal issues that contribute to relapse; making a plan to resolve them assists in preventing relapse .
Relapse Prevention Plan vs The Alternatives (Success Rates)
40-80% of patients experience a lapse with a relapse prevention plan in the first year of sobriety, but only 20% return to pre-existing levels of alcoholism .
Out of 20 studies, 64% of those with a relapse prevention plan achieved sobriety, unlike 33% of those without a relapse prevention plan.
Customising A Relapse Prevention Plan
An effective relapse prevention plan considers the individual's history of addiction, including past triggers, as well as reasons for addiction and relapse when customising a plan.
If the patient has completed an outpatient detox or treatment programme, they may need to incorporate dealing with underlying issues causing alcoholism in relapse prevention therapy that have not been addressed during detox.
Older adults need to take into account the higher potential for grief, depression and social isolation when customising a plan, making sure to include support groups and sponsors .
Women are one-third less likely to relapse during treatment than men, meaning men's treatment plans should focus more on the potential of relapse .
A relapse prevention plan should assess how mental and physical health problems worsen or influence alcohol use and influence likely relapse rates .
Benefits Of RPP To Others
A relapse prevention plan is beneficial to others such as friends, family members and other healthcare providers to understand the individuals' warning signs, triggers and personal goals to assist in preventing relapse.
Having a relapse prevention plan in place may be beneficial for potential employers or during legal situations as it demonstrates taking responsibility for addiction and a willingness to maintain sobriety moving forward.
Aftercare Plan vs Relapse Prevention Plan
An aftercare plan discusses the steps that an individual takes after rehab, such as group therapy, 12-step meetings or self-care.
A relapse prevention plan is similar, but also considers the specific causes of relapse and gives responsibility to the patient so they can understand triggers, develop healthy coping skills and maintain sobriety with longevity.
Relapse prevention plans are more appropriate when the patient has experienced relapse previously, they are returning to an environment with lots of triggers, or are at increased risk of emotional relapse due to co-occurring mental health conditions.